Art sometimes feels like an indulgence. Adherents of the Wildean idea of art being quite useless will respond with ‘of course’, though the fact remains that useless pursuits are seldom allowed during most of the year. We’re on break now, though, which means the days are made for filling with the things you don’t usually do. Those days aren’t for art galleries though, surely? Oh yes they are.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia

The Gallery continues its headline Heath Ledger exhibition until the end of January. Highlights include props and costumes from the actor’s films, along with his personal notebooks detailing the creative process he employed in certain of his works. This one is worth a visit for fans, and for those who celebrate Australian success abroad. The exhibition features a twilight viewing until 7:30 pm on Friday evenings.

In a more traditionally artistic vein, the Gallery is showing Gregory Pryor’s work until 15 January. An expression of fire’s elemental destructiveness, Looking Glass is the result of the artist’s visits to the rural landscapes of Western Australia. The 2015 Esperance bushfires feature prominently in a work created with charcoal on paper by Pryor and student assistants.

Indigenous art continues to receive special attention from the Gallery in 2018. The new Indigenous art space Six Seasons Gallery lives up to its name in showing works related to the cycles of nature. Outside: Matters of the heart in Indigenous art had manifested itself through stages of development in 2017 and is now fully realised. The main exhibition, featuring works of photography, print, painting, drawing, and sculpture, is concerned with landscape and Indigenous peoples’ relation to custom and tradition. Works from a variety of artists are on display, and are supplemented by digital media. Guided tours are available on Sundays 11 am—noon through January.

For those unable to attend in person, the Gallery offers a selection of its collection for online viewing you can see here.

Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

Closer to home, UWA’s own gallery is shut. Disappointing, perhaps, but there will be a launch event on 9 February. Three attractions are on offer: Human Nature, by Zadok Ben-David, a contemplation of life, death, and our relationships to the natural world. Human Nature takes the form of a suspended sphere under UV light, and a field of miniature plants. FLORA, an exhibition of works from the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, will be shown as a supplement to Human Nature and will be itself enlivened by a sound installation from the artist Mei Saraswati. In Light of Shadows uses the Berndt Museum’s Asian Collection to examine our relationships with light and shadow in both the literal and metaphorical senses. Interactions between cultures will be a significant theme.

You can RSVP for the 2018 Exhibitions Programme Launch, if you want to, here.


Fremantle Arts Centre

In Cahoots: artists collaborate across Country continues from its November launch until 28 January. The result of collaborations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists during 18-month residencies, In Cahoots ranges across a variety of media from sculpture to film. It also ranges across geography, including artists from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia. The depth and variety of work makes this a recommended visit.

During last year’s Perth Festival, readers might have noticed vessel collections by Museum of Water. More than a year after it began, the collection is bearing fruit. Artist Amy Sharrocks will display more than 500 donated water vessels and their associated tales from 7 February until 23 March. This exhibition of humanity’s most essential resource promises to be worth seeing, and donating vessels to between 8 February and 4 March.

Repatriate is the work of Australian/Tongan artist Latai Taumoepeau. A video installation, it depicts a woman dancing as rising water impedes her movements and finally submerges her. The work is an invitation to consider the effects of climate change and rising sea levels on Pacific Island residents. The exhibition opens on 7 February at 6:30 pm.

Moores Building, Fremantle

The Moores Building has two exhibitions by local artists running until 21 January. The first, Mr Streisand (not related to Barbra, nor to Duck Sauce) is of works by Valery Seros. The eponymous man, a mythical character, is examined in a series of paintings. His dark form lurks on the white walls of the Moores Building to striking effect.

The second, Hurt, is of work by Brendan Lewis. A variety of media are used, including sculpture, watercolours, and text, to consider the concept of hurt and youthful emotion. Of course, no visit to the Moores Building is complete without at least a coffee from the excellent Moore & Moore Café.

Linton & Kay Galleries, Subiaco

Linton & Kay is currently exhibiting a variety of works from different artists, in styles including expressionism, modernism, still life, and native art. The exhibition runs until 18 February.

Zig Zag Gallery, Kalamunda

Elusive Tactility is an exhibition from artist Holly O’Meehan, who explores the distinctions between art, craft, and design. The work features ceramics and crochet craft, and is an embodiment of the flora gathered by the artist. The exhibition runs from 13 January, with opening night on 12 January at 6 pm.

WA Maritime Museum, Fremantle

Museums (musea?) don’t belong on lists of art exhibitions, do they? In this case, they do. Allow me to explain.

Escape from Pompeii: the Untold Roman Rescue might be housed in a museum, and it might be populated with little plaques and cards expounding in museum-like detail the objects of attention, but it is not simply a museum exhibition. Within its somewhat small but high-quality range of displays are many Roman works, including sculpture, friezes, and various objets d’art. The casts of perished humans are deeply moving, embodying the terror and suffering of Vesuvius’ victims. This is a highly recommended visit, and runs until 4 February.

Tickets: $20 adult, $15 concession.

Clinton Ducas | @clinton.ducas
Visual Arts Editor